A Review of the 2011 Season
Another very satisfactory season for the Club with the highlights being the 1st XI reaching the final of the Club Conference Cup and the 3rd XI winning promotion to Division 1.
Saturday 1st XI
Shaun McMurray returned to the captaincy after a few years away from the helm and led the 1st XI to 7th place in Division 1 with 6 wins. The lack of consistency in performances meant that for most of the season the team was concerned more with avoiding relegation rather than trying to push for the higher places.
The star batsman was undoubtedly overseas player Shahbaz Butt who joined half way through the season. In eight innings he scored 622 runs @ 103.67 with two hundreds and five fifties. The only other two batsmen to average over 30.00 were Alfie Taylor (374 runs @ 34.00) and Nick Shawyer (199 runs @ 39.80) although Matthew O'Sullivan, Shaun McMurray and Billy Rhone all scored over 250 runs.
As usual the spinners were the most successful bowlers with Ben MacGregor leading the way (32 wickets @ 19.06 including three five wicket hauls) well supported by Kulbir Gill (26 wickets @ 24.96).
In the first round of the League Cup there was a one run loss to what turned out to be a very good Buckhurst Hill side and the T20 team failed to progress from the group stage coming second to South Woodford. In the National an excellent win away to national T20 winners Swardeston was followed by defeat against Vauxhall Mallards.
However the 1st XI played inspired cricket in the Club Conference Cup and defeated some top quality sides including Ealing (although as late as 10th July this was Ealing's first defeat of the season in any competition).
First up was a 101 run win away to High Wycombe with a performance of the season from Kulbir Gill who scored 92 and then took 7 for 20 ably supported by Sam Kirnon with 54. This was followed by a six wicket win away to Ardleigh Green (Ben MacGregor 4 for 13) and a 34 run win against Harold Wood (Ben MacGregor 50).
In the quarter finals the team went away to Ealing and won by 39 runs thanks to some excellent batting from Matthew O'Sullivan (75*) and Alfie Taylor (69).
A home tie in the semi-final against Finchley was well supported and the team won a low scoring affair by 19 runs with Matthew O'Sullivan top scoring with 42 and Shaun McMurray and Ben MacGregor taking three wickets apiece.
The final against Lordswood was lost by 31 runs but the difference in the game was Sussex and ex-England bowler Amjad Khan who took five wickets at the crucial juncture of the match. Nevertheless Matthew O'Sullivan (39), Alfie Taylor (30) and Kulbir Gill (30) all made good contributions with the bat and Ben MacGregor took four wickets.
Although disappointed to come so close to winning the Cup the side can look back with pride at an exceptional achievement that will long be remembered by those at the Club.
Saturday 2nd XI
The 2nd XI was led by new captain Chris Baldock who had to take over unexpectedly at the start of the season. The side finished 8th in Division 1 with only 3 wins and had to fight an ultimately successful battle against relegation all season.
This was a year when several experienced players who had contributed to the success of the team over recent seasons either played less cricket than in the past or were unavailable through injury or semi-retirement. However this gave the captain the opportunity to bring on the next generation of players.
Nick Shawyer scored 227 runs @ 113.50 including 109* at Westcliff and 96 at Hutton before finding a permanent home in the 1st XI. The captain scored 287 runs @ 35.88 with three fifties and Jamie Hill 259 runs @ 64.75 including 111* against Hutton.
Mention should also go to Jay Edmonds who averaged 34.80 including a fine 80 (with six fours in one over) against Loughton and Richard Alston who played a handful of games but still managed 238 runs @ 39.67 including 80 against Hornchurch.
Daniel Lawrence continued his development playing several good innings including 79 against a strong Colchester team.
The bowling was led by Liam Lannen (20 wickets) and Andrew MacGregor (11 wickets but whose season was interupted by injury).
Saturday 3rd XI
Congratulations to the 3rd XI who under returning captain Dan Carver finished 2nd in Division 2 with 9 wins thus securing promotion to Division 1.
The batting was led by the captain (316 @ 35.11) and Paul Warren (318 @ 31.80) with good support from Mark Cambell (263 runs @ 26.30) although the individual highlight was Nadir Noori's 107 versus Westcliff.
The bowling was the strength of the side with Stephen Thorne (26 wickets @ 17.12), Junaid Javed (24 wickets @ 13.75 including 6 for 73 against Loughton) and Aiden Woodcock (16 wickets @ 12.75 including 5 for 23 versus Westcliff) leading the way.
Andy Perrin took 11 wickets @ 7.64 in two matches before being lost to the 2nd XI for the remainder of the season.
Saturday 4th XI
The 4th XI, captained again by Paul Hart, retained their place in the Premier Division finishing 7th with 5 wins.
Only one batsman scored over 150 runs - Jack Bassett with 198 runs @ 33.00 including 81* versus Old Parkonians.
Scott Prestedge led the wickets with 20 @ 18.00 supported by the captain who at ever decreasing pace but with some guile snared 16 wickets @ 20.81.
Saturday 5th XI
Bill Burke continued as 5th XI captain and led the side to 5th place in 4th XI Division 3 with 5 wins.
There were two hundreds for Jimal Ahktar (367 runs @ 91.75) and one for Howard Nicholson (119* against Stanford le Hope). Andy Baker (293 runs @ 24.42) and Jon Bird (178 runs @ 25.43) made solid contributions. Mention should also be made of Jack Piper who scored 85 versus Southend.
Andy Baker led the wickets taking 27 @ 16.96 including three five wicket hauls. Chris Watson (including 6 for 54 against Harold Wood), Atif Rabbani and Matthew Fairley all managed at least 10 wickets.
The Sunday A XI, captained by Chris Baldock, did not lose a game in the Duke's Chess Valley League but due to the successful Conference Cup run had to concede two matches and as a result failed to add to the previous two years Championships.
The runs and wickets were shared around although Paul Shawyer averaged 134.00 with the bat and Ben MacGregor, Alfie Taylor, Liam Lannen and Alex Gordon tied for the most wickets whilst averaging under 14.00.
The Sunday B XI was captained again by Marc Fletcher whose 612 runs across all formats were scored at 55.64. Youngsters Harry Houldsworth, Daniel Lawrence, and Andrew MacGregor all scored fifties.
Marc Fletcher also led the way with the ball taking 19 wickets @ 23.16. Jack Bassett, and Aiden Woodcock provided good support.